From Sendle Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Eva Ross.
The high season is just around the corner. Between Click Frenzy, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the general Christmas shopping, Australians are ready to shop till they drop.
Sendle Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Eva Ross.
But despite the loosening of lockdowns and the return of life to the “new normal”, the challenges for companies remain that have arisen from global disruptions in the supply chain and logistics. Stock shortages and delivery delays continue to plague retailers large and small. While larger brands with more resources are equipped to weather the storm, smaller businesses are often hardest hit by supply chain disruptions.
With this in mind, small retailers must do everything in their power to ensure this holiday season is not marred by unsatisfied customers and long delays. Here I share my top tips and tricks to provide a seamless shopping experience this high season.
Plan to be successful
We expect twice as much excitement this year. So if you have sufficient stocks and packaging units at an early stage, you can cope with the increasing storage requirements. Understanding what is happening at each step of your supply chain can also be helpful in managing international inventory. Knowing the delays and problems your manufacturers, distributors, and shipping suppliers are facing will help you predict your vulnerabilities and plan accordingly. Preparing early will give you plenty of time to create contingency plans if you anticipate a problem.
If you're a small business owner, you likely work on a small team – or even fly on your own. When inundated with orders, packing can become a monumental and all-consuming chore. To avoid this, prepackage your favorite items. Once you have them ready to use, you can get them to your customers asap when the retail peak is reached and you can focus on other important areas like customer service or marketing.
With much of the country (and the world) grappling with delivery delays, investing in backup delivery options this Christmas could save you a lot of headaches. Diversifying your shipping options is critical to ensuring that your small business is prepared for future disruptions that might get thrown in your way.
Finally, if you expect a large volume of orders in the coming weeks, choose a shipping partner who offers door-to-door delivery. A pick-up service from your door saves you valuable time that you would otherwise have to spend in the queue in front of the post office. This is valuable time that you can invest in yourself, your company and, above all, your customers.
Build trust to manage customer relationships
Aside from planning and preparation, the next best thing you can do to be successful this busy season is to invest in your customer communications. Despite the delays caused by Covid, buyers still expect a high standard of customer service. So if you are proactive and transparent in your communication, you can build trust and loyalty with your customers.
Start transferring your shipping deadline data. With a record breaking busy season, make sure you let your customers know clearly about delivery times so they can get their purchases in time for Christmas. Create a banner on your website, send out vacation planning emails, set a countdown timer – whatever you need to do to keep your customers informed.
A clear shipping policy is just as important. Set realistic expectations with your customers regarding processing times, costs, delivery times and returns so that your customers are not frustrated if a package arrives later than expected.
With the massive volumes of packages expected this Christmas season, investing in a shipping service with insurance can protect you if your package is damaged or lost. Look for shipping services that include daily coverage for standard shipments of a few hundred dollars. You should also be able to get higher or “additional coverage” for higher value items such as tech, heirlooms, expensive jewelry, or expensive equipment.
Finally, as you prepare for a record high season, try to find ways to lighten your environmental footprint. 61% of consumers believe that companies should be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. From simple measures like implementing reduction, reuse, recycling to using compostable packaging or environmentally friendly delivery services, there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Showing your commitment to the environment can also build trust with your customers.
Ultimately, the Christmas season will be a busy one. Global supply chain disruptions can be challenging, but with the right planning and careful customer care, small businesses can be well positioned to reap the rewards of another record high season thanks to the transformation of sales, purchasing, and shipping behavior.
About Eva Ross
Eva Ross is Chief Marketing and Customer Officer at Sendle, Australia's first 100% carbon neutral shipping company and Technology B Corporation. Eva was previously responsible for APAC marketing operations and strategy at Airbnb and has a wealth of business and creative experience helping startups cope with rapid growth at scale.
Sendle is Australia's first 100% carbon neutral delivery service, specially designed for small businesses in the e-commerce space, and the country's first technology, B Corp. Sendle offers affordable flat rate shipping for less than standard parcel post with no hidden fees, in contracts or minimum requirements. Sendle picks up parcels from your doorstep across Australia, with the benefits of free tracking, affordable international rates and sustainable shipping.